We’ve been documenting (both here on Southern Hospitality and in later issues of the late Hip-Hop Connection magazine), living and loving the journey of Jovan Smith for almost half a decade now. He first grabbed our attention by force when our Myspace inbox was nothing but a sea of all-caps J. Stalin messages, the proto-Lil B school of carpet-bombing style self-promotion, surely. Eventually we clicked through, were drawn in by this husky, off-key young livewire – this was around the time of his debut album, the excellent, and now heftily priced, all-Mekanix-produced ‘On Behalf Of The Streets’, and before he became a beacon of hope for aspiring artists across the divided East and West Oakland that the Livewire Records CEO brought together in his crew – and the rest is richly rewarding musical history. Stalin’s latest instalment in his Real World series, which always predominantly feature production from DJ Fresh and The Whole Shabang, the team with whom Stalin seemingly shares deep chemistry, include these two intensely, but typically, emotional highlights. Enjoy.
And if you haven’t already, read our in-depth interview with the man from spring 2009 here, and then tuck into the rare, historic treat below; an early documentary on the rise of J. Stalin: